Learning to deal with grief
One of ReachOut.com’s youth ambassadors was on 4live on RTE one as part of a mental health series that rugby player Alan Quinlan conducted.
Denis talks about the loss of his mother at the age of 16-years-old and who and what he had for support.
Learning to deal with grief transcript
Alan: Dennis, you went through a rough time a couple of years ago, can you tell me a little bit about that?
Dennis: Yeah, a couple of years ago I lost my mum to cancer. It was a pretty tough time.
Alan: Of course it must have been a very difficult time. Where you able to speak to anyone about that? Family or friends?
Dennis: My whole family came together. Everyone pulled together and we got on with things. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of friends. Just hanging around with the lads and stuff, helped take my mind off of things.
My best friend, and now girlfriend, she was incredible. If I was having a bad day, we would sit down on the couch, have a cup of tea. Simple things like that. They relax you and help you take your mind off things.
Alan. You also got help from Reachout.com, how did you hear about them?
Dennis: Through friends and family. It’s a very easy website to use. It’s clear, and there’s loads of different fact sheets that you can go on and read about.
You can kind of relate to whatever difficulty you’re going through at the time. There’s also real life stories from people of your own age that you can relate to.
Alan: So you’d encourage people to talk out?
Dennis: Definitely. Definitely talk about it. If you bottle it up, it’s not going to help you. It’s just going to play at your mind a lot.
Alan: How important do you think it is for someone to have an outlet?
Dennis: It’s incredibly important. Everyone needs their past time, their getaway, where they can go so their thing.
Alan: Switch off.
Dennis: Switch off, exactly. Whether it be me sticking in my headphones and going for a run, or playing gaelic for the school. I’d be playing with my friends and stuff that way. I’d call myself a seasonal golfer.
When you’re feeling low, you might not want to do anything, you might want to sit around and do nothing for the day and stuff. But if you go out, go for a run…
Alan: You’ll feel a bit better.
Dennis: You just pick up a little bit more, you’re up for the day a little bit more. Just because you’re getting up and being active. The mental health and physical health tie in together.
Alan: How are you coping now, or how do you feel now, about that whole experience?
Dennis: My mum fell ill, and even when she was ill, I thought she would get better. When I found out the cancer was terminal, I said I’d cherish every day that I had left.
What I went through, especially as I was so young, I’d only turned sixteen as she passed away, it had a huge effect on me. Everyday things remind me of her, and I’m never going to lose that. I’d never want to lose that.
Alan: That’s a positive way of thinking about it. She’ll probably want you get a good leaving cert as well.
Dennis: That’s it, keep the head. I was just about to say to keep the head up, you know, for morale. But she’d also be saying keep the head down in the books.
Alan: Why did you want to open up and share your experience with other people?
Dennis: I thought it was important to show people you could come out the other side of things, you know? I kind of have a positive way of looking at life, I have to see the best in things. I’m never going to forget what’s happened, but I do my life, and live it to the fullest.